It's been more than twelve years since he was horribly wounded in a firefight in Afghanistan.
Then jailed and tortured in that hellhole called Guantanamo, even though he was a child soldier. Then betrayed by his own government.
He is Canada's most famous prisoner, and yet for all that time he has also been its most invisible citizen. Never seen and never heard from.
But now at last Omar Khadr has had a chance to address his fellow Canadians. And his words couldn't be more moving.
From the very beginning, to this day, I have never been accorded the protection I deserve as a child soldier. And I have been through so many other human rights violations. I was held for years without being charged. I have been tortured and ill-treated. I have suffered through harsh prison conditions. And I went through an unfair trial process that sometimes felt like it would never end.
Or more magnificent.
I will not give up. I have a fundamental right to redress for what I have experienced. But this isn’t just about me. I want accountability to ensure others will be spared the torment I have been through; and the suffering I continue to endure.
For it speaks to the strength of character and decency of that young Canadian, that even after all that was done to him he would use most of the words he was granted not to complain about that miserable miscarriage of justice. Which he has every right to do.
But to warn us about the danger of putting security before civil liberties, as the Cons are doing:
I hope that my experience – of 10 years ago and today – will be kept in mind as the government, Parliament and Canadians weigh new measures designed to boost national security. Canadians cannot settle for the easy rhetoric of affirming that human rights and civil liberties matter. There must be concrete action to ensure that rights are protected in our approach to national security.
Which explains why the abominable Con Jason Kenney would be so quick to jump on his back:
Now that @OttawaCitizen has run op-ed by Omar Khadr, will they run 1 by widow of the medic he confessed to murdering? pic.twitter.com/zmN8B2lgob
— Jason Kenney ن (@kenneyjason) October 28, 2014
Even if that Con hog can't get his facts right:
(1) There are no "medics" in the U.S. Special Forces. Just soldiers who carry guns and kill people but who have been trained to deal with battlefield injuries.
(2) Khadr's "confession" in that kangaroo court was prompted only by the fact that the Pentagon was threatening to sentence him to forty years in jail.
(3) Khadr could not have thrown the grenade that killed that soldier because he had been riddled with shrapnel, including some in his eyes, by two previous air strikes. It was either thrown by a Taliban fighter who also survived those air strikes, and had been firing at the Americans before he was killed. A fact the Pentagon tried to conceal.
Or was thrown by one of the Americans themselves, only to fall short.
And Khadr was on his knees facing away from the action and unarmed when he was shot twice in the back, with the bullets exploding out of his chest and exposing his beating heart.
And the eternal shame of this country is that even after that, we would allow foreigners to torture that young Canadian child soldier.
But then Kenney belongs to the tea bagger strain in this country, which has oozed like pus out of Alberta, and is more American than Canadian. And his rabid Con base hates Omar with a passion that reason cannot explain.
And as I pointed out the other night, Kenney wants more powers for the police.
Which only proves what I said so long ago, when I first started speaking out in defence of Khadr, and I saw that many Canadians including many so-called progressives also hated Khadr just because they hated his crazy family.
And I said that if they allowed the Cons to get away with violating our laws and values. If we allowed them to ignore a U.N. Protocol on the Treatment of Child Soldiers, that we were the FIRST to sign. When they had finished with Khadr they would come for us.
And so they have, with as I pointed out last night, the support of many Canadians...
And when you see that depressing graph.
And you read what Omar Khadr and Jason Kenney are saying.
Ask yourself who sounds more CANADIAN?
How long can this shameful travesty of justice continue?
And to what dark place would Stephen Harper take us?
Then do the right and decent and Canadian thing.
End the shame.
Defeat those police state Cons.
And free Omar Khadr...
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